Rxivist logo

With the help of novel processing workflows and algorithms, we have obtained a better understanding of the flexibility and conformational dynamics of the SARS-CoV-2 spike in the prefusion state. We have re-analyzed previous cryo-EM data combining 3D clustering approaches with ways to explore a continuous flexibility space based on 3D Principal Component Analysis. These advanced analyses revealed a concerted motion involving the receptor-binding domain (RBD), N-terminal domain (NTD), and subdomain 1 and 2 (SD1 & SD2) around the previously characterized 1-RBD-up state, which have been modeled as elastic deformations. We show that in this dataset there are not well-defined, stable, spike conformations, but virtually a continuum of states moving in a concerted fashion. We obtained an improved resolution ensemble map with minimum bias, from which we model by flexible fitting the extremes of the change along the direction of maximal variance. Moreover, a high-resolution structure of a recently described biochemically stabilized form of the spike is shown to greatly reduce the dynamics observed for the wild-type spike. Our results provide new detailed avenues to potentially restrain the spike dynamics for structure-based drug and vaccine design and at the same time give a warning of the potential image processing classification instability of these complicated datasets, having a direct impact on the interpretability of the results. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

Download data

  • Downloaded 643 times
  • Download rankings, all-time:
    • Site-wide: 27,176 out of 106,052
    • In microbiology: 1,856 out of 9,238
  • Year to date:
    • Site-wide: 5,668 out of 106,052
  • Since beginning of last month:
    • Site-wide: 8,794 out of 106,052

Altmetric data


Downloads over time

Distribution of downloads per paper, site-wide


PanLingua

Sign up for the Rxivist weekly newsletter! (Click here for more details.)


News